UK Energy Minister Unveils Largest Oil Recovery Project

The world's largest ever project to pump gas into an oil field to increase production was inaugurated by Energy Minister Brian Wilson late last week in Aberdeen.

BP's Enhanced Oil Recovery project for the Magnus field has involved laying new pipelines from the Schiehallion and Foinaven fields (west of Shetland) and pumping pressurized gas into the Magnus field (east of Shetland), recovering over 60 million extra barrels of oil. The whole project will cost £310 million, creating 1500 jobs at the peak of construction.

Brian Wilson said: "The Energy White Paper set out our continued commitment to stimulating new activity in the North Sea through the Fallow Initiative, asset trading between operators, work to enhance brownfield developments and sharing best practice. The sector is vital to the wider UK economy in terms of jobs and investment.

"The size and scale of the Magnus project show how technology and innovation can also be used to increase the lifespan of the North Sea. The benefits of this project go way beyond increased production on the Magnus field.

"Commitment and collaboration from all parties has allowed the first ever pipeline west of Shetland to be built, paving the way for greater oil and gas activity in this area as well as opportunities for new developments to be tied into the Magnus field. I hope the Magnus project will mean more jobs for Aberdeen in the long-term."

Other benefits to the UK oil and gas industry from this project include:

  • Cleaner emissions on Shetland, as gas replaces diesel for power generation at the Sullom Voe terminal;
  • A longer future for the Sullom Voe terminal and its employees;
  • Two thirds of the work performed by British contractors;
  • 300 billion cubic feet of gas, which otherwise would have been lost through re-injection, will become available for consumers.

The concept of an enhanced oil recovery project for Magnus was raised as early as 1998. Work began on the project in 1999. In June 2002 first gas from Schievallion/Foinaven came ashore at Sullom Voe. First gas was injected into the Magnus reservoir in October 2002.

Laying of the pipeline from Schiehallion/Foinaven to Sullom Voe and then on to Magnus took just 88 days to complete, averaging around 5 miles a day. While laying the 20-inch diameter line west of Shetland, the pipe-laying vessel, Solitaire, laid around 6 miles in one 24-hour period - a world record.

The Magnus Enhanced Oil Recovery project is thought to be a world first in terms of the scale, geography and distances involved.

The Magnus field is located in the northern sector of the North Sea, around 100 miles north east of Shetland. It was discovered in 1974 and came on stream in 1983. At peak it was producing around 150,000 barrels a day. Prior to EOR, it was averaging around 55,000 barrels a day.